More than 40 years after the song’s 1971 release, Yoko Ono is receiving a songwriting credit on John Lennon’s classic “Imagine.” Lennon had previously advocated for Ono to get a co-writing credit on the song, saying as much in a 1980 video clip that was shown today at a ceremony recognizing the song’s importance, held by the National Music Publishers Association. Ono and her son, Sean Lennon, were on hand to receive Lennon’s “Centennial Song” award for “Imagine,” acknowledging its impact on the world.
Ono—who’s 83, and who was suffering from the effects of what’s being described as a flu-like illness, spoke briefly, saying, “This is the best time of my life.” Patti Smith played the song itself, accompanied by her daughter Jessie. Meanwhile, NMPA CEO David Israelite has confirmed that steps are in motion to add Ono’s name to the song’s credits. As Israelite himself noted, the move will be unpopular among certain circles; not just the people still beholden to the old “Yoko killed The Beatles” story, but also those upset that it’ll significantly delay “Imagine”’s entrance into the public domain (which only happens 70 years after the writers’ death).